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ICC stretched to its limits in Africa

ICC stretched to its limits in Africa

Congolese rebel Bosco Ntaganda is the latest African to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Mr. Ntaganda faces several counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including the rape, murder, sexual slavery and recruitment of children in the North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to ICC’s records.  (Photo: Bosco Ntaganda)

The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Mr. Ntaganda follows in the footsteps of Thomas Lubanga, another Congolese warlord who was recently sentenced to 14 years in jail by the Tribunal for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel army between 2002 and 2003. So far, 30 people have been indicted, all of them Africans, leading to accusations that the court has been going after Africans.

The DRC is one of the seven situations under investigation by the ICC. The others are northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. The court is also examining claims of murder, mutilation and torture committed since January 2012 by insurgent groups in Mali.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a national of Gambia, recently announced that she would not drop charges against Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto. Before the elections, they appeared before the court to answer charges of complicity in the violence that erupted following the 2007 elections.

Analysts believe the cash strapped court is stretched to its limit trying to deal simultaneously with several cases from different countries. It has also been criticized for using intermediaries to conduct investigations, allegedly undermining its credibility and its ability to build strong cases.

By Jocelyne Sambira, Africa Renewal

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